My brain loves extremes.
Some months are extremely slow and dark, while others are bright and rushing forward at lightning speed. Each season comes with benefits and challenges, and life has adapted to the ebb and flow of bipolar disorder.
Occasionally, a mysterious hush settles and I find myself in…. stability.
Whether it’s a natural shift in the cycle or a product of medication, I’ll never know. Perhaps it’s a combination of both. Untangling what parts of me are my true self, mental disorder, or the effects of meds is an unsolvable puzzle. So I must learn to be content with uncertainty, something only accomplished with the strength of the Lord’s help.
So it is now that I have settled into the peaceful lull of such stability. The calm is reflected in my work at church, allowing me to steadily handle the stress of a busy holiday season. But my creativity? This is where I feel something is lost.
I know we’re supposed to be defined by who we are the Lord, and that’s a subject to be explored deeply. However, I would be lying if I didn’t admit that “creative” is one of the first words that begin my description (though this is how He created me, so it’s for a good reason!). Without the ability to dream and write and paint and make colorful solutions to problems, I feel adrift in a sea of nothing.
My writing has slowed to a lazy halt. I feel like I have nothing to say, not even empty, valueless words. How can I call myself a writer when I’m not producing any work?
What do we do in these seasons where we feel empty-handed and unlike ourselves?
When the guilt of not fulfilling our God-created purpose hangs heavy like a dark cloud of our heads, whispering about what we should be doing and how we are neglecting something very important? How do we stop slipping farther away from our calling and return to the light of the Lord’s design for who we are and what we do?
First, we MUST stop defining who we are by what we do.
He who created us is ultimately who gets to call us by name. He has appointed us “beloved” and “child,” precious identities that remind us how dear we are to our Heavenly Father. Meanwhile, I believe He has more personal names for us, just as He renamed His disciple Simon as Peter (“The Rock”) and Jacob became Israel (because he struggled with God and man and overcame). The more time we spend with the Lord, the more we understand how He calls us. Then, what we do is defined by who we are.
Therefore, it’s imperative that we are in His presence as often as possible! How many times have we lamented feeling far from Him, all the while neglecting our prayer time and allowing our Bibles to become dusty on the coffee table? How can we live in the midst of our purpose if we are disconnected from our Source? The first step is to desperately seek Him. Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you. That’s a promise.
The push forward requires great effort, but do it anyway.
Writing this post has taken a great deal of time and thought. I doubt every word even as I currently type, delete, rephrase, and hesitantly move on to the next sentence. My mind seems vacant, experiencing a parched drought void of inspiration. Yet, I present my meager offering and pray that God will find it as useful as the widow’s mite. What seems small to us can have greater divine impact than we imagine. Every baby step finds us that much closer to living in His purpose.
Despair traps us in the lie that we are stuck. We may have paused or become restless in a season of restoration intended to prepare us for what is ahead. However, our story has not reached the end. Do not give up, perfectly-designed child of the Most High. There is no reason to panic when all seems lost- because you are still securely found. You have never been outside His reach, even when you were looking the other direction and missed seeing Him. We will not always abide in our stagnant seasons, but we must keep our eyes open for the treasures that are hidden here while we wait. God will not waste a minute, even when it appears we are standing still. Rest confidently, assured that your purpose is not lost or revoked.
As I fondly think of fruitful melancholy or productive hypomania, I will try to unearth the creativity tucked away in the corners of my mind and on the edges of my soul. Deliberately trusting that God is using the quiet season is difficult, yet it’s also breathing life into my spirit. He is the one who defines us and gives us purpose, and He is the one that works through us to fulfill His plans. The willingness to be available to Him is something we can definitely do at any time, and that is a beautiful offering that delights our Lord.